Why bi-amp your speakers?
You may be sitting on a wealth of untapped power
Dave Bar worked for Crutchfield from 1981 until his retirement in 2016. After a 23-year stint in the sales department, he joined the home A/V writing staff. Dave's expertise and good humor will be sorely missed.
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If you've purchased a seven-channel home theater receiver in the last couple of years, you might be surprised to learn that you possibly have lots of amplifier power just going to waste. Here's why.
Like many of us, when you set up your home theater system you may not have bothered to hook up any rear surround speakers. Those are the ones designed to go all the way in the back of your room behind your regular surround speakers. That means you may still have two out of the seven channels of power available in your receiver with nothing to do (assuming, of course, you haven't put them to work running speakers in another room).
Many newer seven-channel surround sound receivers actually let you redirect the power from those unused rear surround channels to use in combination with the power from your front two channels. In effect, this gives you four dedicated amplifier channels to drive a single pair of compatible left and right front speakers (each of which must have two pairs of input terminals for this to work). This neat trick essentially doubles the available power, resulting in more dynamic, higher-quality sound from your now bi-amped front speakers.
If your speakers have two sets of terminals, then with the right kind of receiver you can probably improve your system's sound by bi-amping.
If your system meets these requirements, you're all set. Basically, you only need to do three things:
- Access your receiver's menu to re-assign the rear surround amplifier channels.
- Remove the jumpers that connect the two pairs of input terminals on your speakers.
- Connect the extra set of wires to the appropriate jacks on the back of your receiver and speakers (most experts recommend using identical pairs of wire for this).
Please be sure to refer to your receiver's manual for specific directions because the details can vary from brand to brand, and model to model.
So there you have it in a nutshell. Bi-amping really works, and the improvements you get in performance should be well worth the cost of an additional pair of speaker wires. Happy listening.